Recently I took my family to the beach for a weekend getaway. I was scared to let my five-year-year old son go into the ocean. He and I sat right where the waves washed up on the shore. It was fun for a while, but then my son said, “I want to go out there,” as he pointed into the ocean. I didn’t want to take him out there because I was scared of the unknown. How deep was it? Were there drop offs? What would happen if we got pulled out by the current?
After holding him off for a while, I finally consented to his relentless desire to leave the shore. I waded out to where the water was halfway up my calf, but he said, “Go farther!” I then went out to where it was just above my knees. We let the waves crash against us, but he insisted, “Go farther!” I finally went out to waist-deep water, but I refused to go farther against his wishes. I was scared that if the water got any deeper, I would no longer be in control of the situation.
As we were out there, I couldn’t help but think how if God were an ocean, the Holy Spirit would be calling me to go farther into Him. Like me, many of us are afraid to go deeper than our ability to have control. We are afraid to explore the depths of who God is beyond our understanding, so we sit on the shore just wetting our feet or wade in waist-deep. We ignore the Spirit’s calling to go farther because what we discover about who God is may not fit into our boxes that we have placed Him in.
According to NOAA.gov, we have explored less than 5% of the oceans on earth. I wonder if that’s how much we have explored the depths of God. In I Corinthians 2:10-11, Paul wrote, “The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along. Who ever knows what you’re thinking and planning except you yourself? The same with God” (MSG). If we want to explore the depths of God, we need to be led by His Spirit who knows Him intimately.
The most powerful, yet most underutilized gift God has given to each of us as believers is His Spirit. If we as Christians won’t explore the depths of God, how will we lead others to explore Him? You can only lead others as far as you have gone. We must be willing to hear the Spirit say, “Go farther,” and then to let Him lead us there if we are going to experience the growth God is looking to get out of us. We have to set aside our fear, relinquish our control, and let the Holy Spirit sweep us away into the unknown depths of God.